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Sushi for you – yakitori for me

Taking inspiration from their half-Japanese, half-Danish backgrounds, Sticks’n’Sushi restaurant was founded 22 years ago by brother’s Jens and Kim Rahbek, and Thor Andersen. Combining two culinary traditions and serving fresh traditional sushi and grilled yakitori sticks was an instant success, and since then the concept has growing across 17 restaurants in Copenhagen, 7 in London and 1 in Berlin. For the highly-anticipated Sticks’n’Sushi roof top restaurant, “Haven”, which overlooks the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Danish OEO studio was called in to make the interior design concept. We spoke to Thomas Lykke, Founding Partner and Head of Design about OEO Studio and the Japanese inspiration that shaped the new Sticks’n’Sushi concept.

"Some say that OEO Studio is “Japanordic”. This is not a style we invented. It’s always been like that."

How has your studio developed over the years with the increasing number of Japanese clients and creative collaborations?
We have been around for 14 years now and I believe that we have found our “reason to be” in a highly competitive market – we have always gone our own way and followed our passion with conviction. Some say that OEO Studio is “Japanordic”. This is not a style we invented. It’s always been like that. Danish and Japanese design traditions share similar values regarding craftsmanship and aesthetics, which is also part of the DNA of OEO Studio.

How do you work with craftsmanship in different creative fields?
We have a deep respect for craftsmanship and we see it as part of our responsibility and call as a design studio to help nurture and evolve crafts in a world where technology is becoming an ever- greater influence. We use craftsmanship as a tool and for storytelling. We focus on the smallest of details; on textures, quality and the human and emotional connection. What is your favourite Japanese expression? That would be ‘Ineiraisan’ — meaning celebrating the interplay between light and shadow.

"The subtle pattern in the celling has a reference to Asanoha, one the most ancient patterns from Japan."

Your recent interior project in Copenhagen offers a magnificent view of the famous Tivoli Gardens. Please tell us about the ideas and the inspirations behind this restaurant concept.
Located at the corner of the historical Tivoli Gardens and with views to the magical gardens and the Pantomime Theatre, the Sticks’n’Sushi restaurant offers a sense of urban buzz as well as oldworld splendour. We drew our inspiration for the restaurant experience from the building and its shape combined with the location. The feeling is international, Japanese and Nordic at the same time, and embraces a sense of warmth and intimacy. No matter where you sit, you can enjoy a view of the big open kitchen located in the middle of the restaurant – we call it the heart and soul of the restaurant. You will also enjoy views to the gardens, terrace  and the city. All this is combined with perfect bespoke furniture, including warm and inviting seating and carefully composed and executed lighting. Which Japanese-inspired creative choices did you make when designing the interior and the space? The wooden structure that frames the kitchen and creates small, intimate yet open spaces and zones has a reference to Japan. The subtle pattern in the celling has a reference to Asanoha, one the most ancient patterns from Japan. And, of course, the attention to detail and quality.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
We find inspiration in everything – there is inspiration to be found in everything if you look hard enough!

All photographs are credited OEO Studio.